During the last spell of cold weather I noticed an appearance of our resident female pheasant group. They always seem to come out just before the cold weather. When I used to live in Rochdale a sighting of the deer next to my house was always a warning of a cold snap to come.
On this particular morning I looked outside of my bedroom window and there before my eyes were the female pheasants on top of one of my neighbour’s roof. I was astonished about how they got up there I didn’t know they could flap up to such a high place.
Anyway, they were up there and the leader of the group felt it was time to leave the roof and go. She looked around and with an almighty flap she went down. One and by one the others followed her until there was one left.
She looked worried about what the others had just done, yet she could see the rest of the group safe and well and getting ready to move on. I watched her for a while, moving backwards and forwards, looking at the distance, measuring it up, then just as I thought she might not do it, she flapped and landed gracefully on the grass.
Watching the birds made me think of the sudden words of Jesus saying “follow me” to his disciples. We hear of them literally dropping the nets in their hands and walking away, and standing up and leaving the tax collector’s booth, leaving everything behind.
Sometimes we are like the last pheasant, weighing up the risks, whether it is safe, what could happen etc. Yet here in this short sentence “follow me” are the words of life, words that changed the disciples lives and our lives too when we decide to follow.
Perhaps this lent is a chance to remember our promise to follow Jesus, to put down the fear of what may make us hesitate to go, to address the fears within us that keep us at arms length, and to remember we are never too far gone to hear the words “follow me.”